Pope marks six-month anniversary of Hamas attacks by meeting hostages’ relatives

8 April 2024, 20:04

Vatican Israel Palestinians
Vatican Israel Palestinians. Picture: PA

It was the second time Francis has met relatives of the hostages.

Pope Francis on Monday met relatives of hostages taken by Hamas on October 7, marking the six-month anniversary of the attack in southern Israel with an hour-long audience.

The Vatican released photos of the encounter, showing relatives of several of the hostages sitting in a semicircle in front of Francis in his private library in the Apostolic Palace. Each one held a poster with a photo and the name of a loved one.

It was the second time Francis has met relatives of the hostages. On November 22, he met a delegation of Israelis, and then separately a delegation of Palestinians whose relatives had been harmed during the long Middle East conflict.

Vatican Israel Palestinians
Ashley Waxman Bakshi, left, shows a photo of her cousin Agam Berger, one of the hostages being held by Hamas, flanked by Agam’s sister, Li-Yam Berger, during a press conference in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Francis has called for the immediate release of the hostages and a ceasefire in Gaza, and for humanitarian aid to reach desperate Palestinians urgently.

Ashley Waxman Bakshi, a relative of hostages Agah and Li-Yah Berger, said the audience was “very powerful” for the families.

“He was very clear about his solidarity for the release of the hostages,” Ms Waxman Bakshi told reporters afterwards.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

India Election

Millions vote in Indian election with Narendra Modi chasing third term

Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden’s impending gun trial mired in disagreements over evidence

Uvalde Shooting-Anniversary

Families of Uvalde victims sue Meta, video game maker and gun firm

Sean Kingston House Raid

Sean Kingston and mother alleged to have committed million dollars of fraud

OBIT Caleb Carr

Caleb Carr, military historian and author of The Alienist, dies at 68

US Kenya

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin to undergo medical procedure

France Syria Torture Trial

Paris court sentences three Syrian officials in absentia for war crimes

WHO Pandemic Treaty

Efforts to draft pandemic treaty falter as countries disagree on future response

Palestinian flag outside ICJ

Top UN court orders Israel to halt military operation in Rafah

Israel Palestinians

Egypt says it will send aid trucks into Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing

Belarus Russia

Putin questions Zelensky’s legitimacy as Ukraine’s leader

Australia US Pilot

Sydney judge allows extradition of US ex-fighter pilot accused of training Chinese

Vatican Pope Millennial Saint

Italian teenage computer ace set to become first millennial generation saint

Director Morgan Spurlock attends a special screening of ‘RATS’ on August 26, 2013 in New York City.

Super Size Me filmmaker Morgan Spurlock dies at 53


China deploys dozens of warplanes and ships near Taiwan

Syria IS

British woman and three children linked to IS in Syria handed to UK delegation